January 2011

Start 2011 off with lots of new resources, including a Meet the Experts podcast and full-length video interview, information on the Common Core State Standards for ELLs, and two themed booklists.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: January, 2011

Dear Subscribers:

Happy New Year! We are excited to start 2011 off with lots of new resources, including a Meet the Experts podcast and full-length video interview, information on the Common Core State Standards for ELLs, and two themed booklists.

We look forward to hearing from you throughout the year as other topics or questions arise in your work with ELLs!

All the best for a happy and healthy year,

The Colorín Colorado Team

Don't Miss…

Interview Tips for ESL/Bilingual Teachers

If you are looking for a new ESL or bilingual teaching position, there are a number of things you can do to help prepare for the interview. This article on ESL/bilingual job interview tips outlines general information that will get you started, as well as areas of your own experience that may be helpful to highlight in the interview.

Welcoming Newcomers and Refugees

As the New Year starts, you may have some new faces in your classroom! Here are ideas for creating a welcoming environment for newcomers, as well as for addressing the wide variety of needs of refugee students. In both articles, be sure to take a look at the great tips in our video interview with ELL middle school teacher, Amber Prentice!

The full interview with Amber is now also available online, featuring special sections on content-area instruction for newcomers and support for middle school ELLs.

New on Colorín Colorado

Podcast Interview: Behind the Scenes of Speaking in Tongues

Last fall, we had the opportunity to interview filmmaker Ken Schneider shortly after he and co-director Marcia Jarmel released their documentary Speaking in Tongues about dual-language education. The film follows four students from San Francisco Unified School District — each enrolled in different public school dual-language programs — and explores what being bilingual means to them and their families. In the interview, Ken shares some of the personal experiences that led him and Marcia to make the film and offers insight on the current discussion about language education in the United States.

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative and ELLs

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort to establish a single set of clear educational standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics that states can share and voluntarily adopt. Learn more about the guidelines that the authors of the CCSS have written in relation to English language learners, as well as the recommendations that experts have put forth regarding the implementation of the CCSS for ELLs in this new resource section!

Recommended Resources

Celebrate the 15th anniversary of Día!

El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day) is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year on April 30th, 2011. Over the next four months, we will be sharing a number of resources with you in the hopes that you will find a way to celebrate Día in your school or community!

Our first resource is a set of "Día Nuggets" presented by none other than Día founder Pat Mora herself, which she is sharing on her website and blog, Bookjoy. The nuggets are 15 lists of 15 items to assist you in your planning for Día. While you're there, you may also enjoy Pat's interview with the Manager of Colorín Colorado, Lydia Breiseth.

SchoolsMovingUp Webinars

SchoolsMovingUp continues its webinar series focused on English language learners, with nationally recognized researchers and professional development providers speaking on topics covered in the recent publication from the California Department of Education, Improving Education for English Learners: Research-Based Approaches.

The next webinar, English Language Development: Issues & Implementation at Grades Six Through Twelve, features Kate Kinsells and Susana Dutro and takes place on February 9, 2011.

In the Classroom

Technology in the ELL Classroom

Colorín Colorado presents a number of articles focused on the use of instructional technology in the ELL classroom, including strategies for teaching beginning computer skills and vocabulary to newcomer students. In addition, take a look at our ideas and resources related to using social media in the ELL classroom!

How are you using technology in the ELL classroom?

Send us an email with "Technology and ELLs" in the subject line or join our discussion on Ning.

Reading Comprehension Strategies for English Language Learners

Comprehension is the reason for reading, but it can be the most difficult skill to master — especially for English language learners (ELLs). There are, however, a number of ways to build ELLs' comprehension skills. This article focuses on building background knowledge, teaching vocabulary explicitly, and checking comprehension frequently. For ideas related to comprehension in the content areas, check out Reading Comprehension Strategies for Content Learning.

Books and Authors

Book of the Month

Eight Days: A Story of Haiti
By Edwidge Danticat
Illustrated by Alix Delinois

If your students are learning about the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, be sure to include Eight Days by Edwidge Danticat in the curriculum. Danticat imagines the dreams of a young boy trapped beneath the rubble for eight days, as he remembers the many places around Port-au-Prince where he has played and laughed and spent time with his family. In this way, Danticat captures the joy and beauty of Haiti and her children before the earthquake, as well as their spirit and determination to survive. Vibrant illustrations by Alix Delinois bring this inspiring tale to life.

For other children's books related to Haiti, take a look at It Happened Over There: Understanding and Empathy Through Children's Books.

New Booklists

Refugee Stories

While the books in this list convey the hardships that refugees face as they flee war and persecution, they also capture the triumphs and glimmers of hope that keep the will to survive strong. From the dry and dusty refugee camps in the Pakistani desert to the frigid and snowy fields of Minnesota, these books bear witness to the many dimensions of the refugee experience and the resilience of children. These stories will serve as a valuable resource in informing yourself or your students about the challenges that refugees may face in their new lives.

Chinese New Year

February 3rd marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year (sometimes referred to as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival), and 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit! If you're interested in learning more about this festive celebration, take a look at these children's books presenting wonderful traditions that help sweep out the old year and welcome the new!